Audio News for August 8, 2006

by | Aug 8, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Flurry of SACD Activity! – Chesky Records – one of the leading audiophile labels – has announced their plans to convert all of their disc releases to single-inventory Hybrid SACDs starting August 2007. The label’s new series of New York Sessions jazz recordings will released next week, and those are all hybrid multichannel SACDs. Co-owner of the label, David Chesky, was quoted in Sony Europe’s newsletter HD World, saying “This new series marks a strategic milestone for Chesky Records. We believe that Super Audio CD is a much superior music format to the compact disc and we intend to release all our music as hybrid Super Audio CDs in the future.”  The first two New York Sessions SACDs will feature George Mraz, John Abercrombie and Eddie Gomez among others, and following releases in September will include Christian McBride, Cedar Walton, and Larry Coryell. Seven discs in the series are planned, which will feature photos of NYC’s striking architecture and a new logo proclaiming “Hi-Def Jazz.”

And that’s not all the SACD activity: Turns out there are many hundreds of titles which have been available in Asia and Europe that are unknown in North America – mostly in the classical area. Venus and another Japanese label remaster great jazz albums for stereo SACD. RCA/BMG has many SACD titles available in Europe – we just reviewed one of them imported to the U.S. by First Impression Music. At you will find hundreds of SACD titles from Membran, Accord, Delta and Capriccio. There is a huge series of standard repertory classical recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which has been remastered for SACD on the Regis label, plus a major series of classic jazz remasters on the Premiere Jazz label – similar to the series Fantasy Records did a couple years ago.

MovieBeam Provides Instant Movies Without a Computer – Downloading of feature films via a broadband Internet connection is becoming such a phenomenon that some say both new hi-def formats are doomed.  However, unless you are one of the few with a semi-large flat-screen combo computer and TV monitor in your living room, who wants to sit and watch a complete movie on your computer screen?  MovieBeam solves that as well as some other hassles of renting movies to watch. You purchase their player for $200. It includes a remote, an indoor antenna, and the required cables to receive, store and play the lineup of movies. No professional installation is required to mate it with your HT system. A simple interface guides you thru setup and activation. The video data is downloaded using a subchannel carried on the signal of PBS public TV stations. The MovieBeam player arrives stocked with 100 of the latest Hollywood releases and some classics. Independent films and documentaries are not ignored. You watch only what interests you and pay only for what you watch, starting at $1.99 per movie.

There are bonus previews, trailers, synopses and other extras. You can search for your favorite movies by title, director, actors, genre or ratings. The remote controls Play, Fast Speeds, Rewind and Pause (Chapters not mentioned so I guess not). Every week up to ten new movies are automatically downloaded, replacing older titles. You also have 100 great movies to select from. Movies so filmed are provided in widescreen with Dolby 5.1 audio. And get this: the movies which are available in hi-def format are viewable in HDTV if you have a HDTV display with a HDMI connection! At no extra charge. Those without can still view them in standard definition. You can forget about subscription fees, waiting for DVDs to arrive, or making trips to the video store. About the only con is that you cannot select your own specific movies. Worth exploring if you’re into movies at home.

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